Down Beat (p.67) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "As with everything Bleckmann and Hollenbeck do, this recording is full of tiny, stark details....At times, when vocalizing wordlessly, Bleckmann can assume the role of a cello, filling out the texture of a piece like Versace's beautifully rendered 'Hymn.'"
Refuge Trio: Theo Bleckmann (vocals, electronics); Gary Versace (accordion, piano, keyboards); John Hollenbeck (vibraphone, glockenspiel, drums, percussion, crotales).
Audio Mixers: Lori Lorenzen; Adrian von Ripka.
Recording information: 02/2008-07/2008.
Photographer: Kate Schroeder.
The members of the Refuge Trio--Theo Bleckmann, voice and electronics; Gary Versace, accordion and keyboards; John Hollenbeck, drums and assorted percussion--have already established themselves in a variety of contexts, including jazz and experimental. Their self-titled debut finds them performing individual songs, mostly originals but also covers of Joni Mitchell, Ornette Coleman, and Thelonious Monk tunes. While the originals are melodious, they're more akin to meditations than the usual verse-chorus-verse. Bleckmann uses his gentle, contemplative tenor voice as an instrument, singing wordlessly as well as gently caressing the lyrics. While performing at mostly at subdued volume, the Refuge Trio evokes an absorbing, reflective mood.